Stinky Baggage

Posted by on Feb 13, 2013 in Mental Health | 1 comment

*WARNING* graphic poo information follows…

One of my household responsibilities is cleaning up all the dog poo in our yard. I’m not sure exactly how this not so appealing job fell on me, but somehow it did. Hmmmm. Add to list of “discussions” to have with Husband about redistribution of household tasks. Sounds like man’s work to me now that I think about it.

But anyway. This may not sound like a huge deal, the cleaning of the poo, but you just. don’t. know. We have two very large dogs. They make very large poo. And I’m not sure what exactly we’re feeding them, but they make a lot of poo. It’s a nasty job.

I try to do it every day, and when I’m able to maintain this schedule the job is gross, but it’s doable. Scoop poop, place in bag, throw in trash, wash hands, 5 minutes total. Somehow in all of the busyness, house guests, and snow surrounding the holidays, though, the task got away from me and I went more than a month without scooping the poo. Suddenly one unseasonably warm January day, I found myself out in the yard, lugging around a giant, full-to-the-brim bag heavy with dog poo, feeling like it was impossible to clean up the mess that had accumulated as the poo piled up day after day, week after week, with no tending to keep it from escalating out of control. I couldn’t even recognize the nice landscape of our yard anymore. I just saw a lot of ugly stinky crap, taking up residence and taking over where clean and pure and beauty used to live.

Where am I going with this absolutely disgusting story? Well, as I was dragging around my stinking bag of poo, I had this thought…

How many of us are dragging around a stinking bag of $&!? in some way or another? You know, hurts, anger, resentment, unforgiveness that we’ve neglected to clean up for so long that it has just taken over the once lovely landscape of our lives?

Much like my yard full of dog poo, hurts and anger that are cleaned out regularly are pretty manageable, but those that are allowed to accumulate over time until they start to take over require some serious heavy lifting to remove. And like my yard full of poo, there comes a time that it either seems easier to let the crap continue to collect, or the crap no longer seems noticeable because it has become a permanent fixture. And just like a yard full of poo, all of this eventually really starts to stink.

So the day I realized I had to clean up, I was outside with Bug and Bear and I saw that this was too much mess for them to play happily and safely. The mess was disrupting my enjoyment of our usually pleasant yard too. I figured my neighbors were probably noticing and keeping their distance as well. The crap in your heart does the same thing you know – affects your family’s enjoyment and health, grosses you out on the inside, and repels the people who do life with you.

I want to point out that I’m not talking about significant traumas or deep wounds here, those things are not so simple and the emotions involved more confusing. I’m simply talking about the day to day issues, relatively small in the grand scheme of things, that evoke hurt and anger. 2012 was a difficult and painful year. Some people, some strangers, some friends, hurt me terribly, caused my family significant harm. I’m over it. It’s not that I don’t care that these things happened, but I do care less about holding the hurt and anger than keeping myself and my family physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy and happy. In many of these instances I could have retaliated, but it would have come with the hefty price tag of my peace and joy. I think spending my days with young children who marvel at absolutely everything with wide-eyed wonder makes me very aware that the time is short and I don’t get these days back. Do I really want to look back one day and realize I sacrificed my life, my joy, my children’s joy, because someone (who may not even matter all that much) did something that hurt, but that’s over?

I am not saying that I pretend my hurts and anger don’t exist in an act of denial, but that I do the daily discipline of scooping the poop. It takes daily maintenance to keep out the crap of unresolved emotion and bitter unforgiveness, but keeping up with this daily scooping out prevents a massive shoveling job later. Yes it can be a gross job. It’s definitely messy. But taking my hurts to God every day, going through all of the messy feelings with Him until they’re not so powerful anymore, and then letting it go with forgiveness, cleans up the mess before it makes my whole life look like crap. Scoop poop, hand off to God, call it old trash, wash up my heart, then move on with no time wasted.

Of course, sometimes in the process of scooping the poop I realize there’s a discussion to be had. Husband! We need to talk about who scoops the poo…


One Comment

  1. I guess this is one way to break the news to me. All I want to know is how old Bug & Bear have to be before we can designate all the poo jobs as their chores?

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